Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Closed Down
June 28th, 2007

I’ve been updating some stuff recently and I surfed the web over to Gaansari Cycles where it became apparent that Gary Boulanger has shut up shop. Checking out the web revealed that the boutique brand and retail store closed last April shelving the Gaansari and Fisso brands indefinitely. Shame it seemed like a nice setup and Gary’s blog was always an interesting read.

“We’ve given it our best, but realized the capital and resources needed to take our brands to the next level was out of reach for us at this time,” said Jean Boulanger. “We’ve enjoyed making a difference in the lives of a few thousand bicyclists, both here in Ohio and abroad, since 2002.”

In December 2005, Gary Boulanger traveled with Tom Ritchey to Rwanda, Africa, at the invitation of a humanitarian group. Boulanger and Ritchey chronicled their trip on their Servant Leaders Outreach blog, and have since created Wheels Of Mercy, a five-point plan to help redevelop Rwanda with bicycling.

The Rwanda Project is one of the main reasons the Boulangers are turning their attention away from their own company, and toward Africa. “As I saw in Rwanda, when there’s a true need, all else pales in comparison,” said Gary Boulanger. “I made the trek to QBP’s 2006 Frostbike and the recent Taipei Bicycle Show to discuss our expansion plans with industry folks, but we couldn’t make the numbers work. But the time spent in Minneapolis and Taipei was enlightening enough to prompt our decision to move forward with a better plan.”

The Boulangers have sold their Springboro property and are moving to San Francisco in late May, where Gary Boulanger will base his public relations, marketing and sales consulting business. Boulanger will be handling all public relations for Ritchey Design and Syncros. He will also head up the marketing and public relation efforts for Wheels of Mercy.

From: Bicycle Retailer

Brrrr. Eeek.
June 25th, 2007

We might have just had the summer solstice, but given what the climate is doing outside you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was still mid-December. Roll on the summer I say, because I missed riding any of those dry, dusty trails in April and now it’s my turn to enjoy summer here in the UK.

On the ride home tonight my centre line style almost became my undoing. As I approached a set of lights a red micra full of lads just drifted outwards, slammed on the anchors and then decided to indicated right. The unexpected deviation almost led to an off the bike moment.

As I realised the situation unfolding in front of me foul language at a volume decent enough to turned heads in surrounding cars erupted. The bike carried out an unwanted stoppie, with the backend swinging around until I managed to get my weight distribution right and slam the rear wheel back onto tarmac. It was inches close. I’m bloody impressed with the new Dura Ace callipers in the wet, they have some serious stopping power.

Token Gesture
June 24th, 2007

One of my pet hates are token gestures that appear to have good intentions but do nothing other than raise publicity for corporate entities and make absolutely no impact in the broader scheme of things. An example of this is the recent media campaign and event “Lights Out London“. Essentially it went like this:

London

The reason this winds me up, is that if politicians are serious about wanting to encourage people to make things better they need to take the lead and set some concrete and permanent changes in place as examples.

Is there really any need to have lighting on motorways when cars have headlights? It might be argued that motorway lights save lives. I’m not sure about that statement. It’s like saying guns kill people. Clearly we all know that gun’s don’t kill people, rappers do. Anyway there a bit of a discussion about motorway lighting here.

Another point is do we really need to illuminate landmark buildings so we can see what they look like at night? You can see them perfectly well enough in day light and it could be argued that lighting them at night just feeds local egos. After a bit of a discussion on the topic Bez suggested that:

Motorway lights are for people who are too stupid to manage without them. Lighting up buildings is good for people who have an interest in culture or aesthetics. France has much less motorway lighting than us, but many more landmarks visible from the road at night. Besides, if lots more people die in motorway accidents, there will be a reduced demand for electricity. And you get a car taken out into the bargain. It’s a very environmentally sound policy.

Things need to change. The alternative, just finding new ways to generate more power, don’t solve the underlying issue of inefficient use of electricity and inappropriate policies. Unless someone perfects perpetual motion, it’s also not sustainable.

Clearly change will affect people , particularly those who manufacture and sell light bulbs, produce electricity, profit from tourism, etc. They are unlikely to be keen on any suggestions that are going to leave them out of pocket. It’s fairly widerly accepted now that if you want to make a difference and become more environmentally sensitive – i.e. reducing your environmental footprint, some sacrifices are going to be necessary.

Some changes are going to be inconvenient. Others will actually have side effects such as making the providers of particular services and equipment less money, because people will be consuming less. The challenge for them is to not only anticipate this, but to have worked out how they can still profit from the change.

Flex Flex Boom
June 21st, 2007

I have decided that the Harry Hall is definitely a bit flexy. I guess that skinny steel 531c tubing and my hefty mass stomping on carbon cranks and heaving on a bars during sprinting are a bit too much for it. If I ride it like a sensible person (where’s the fun in that?) rather than a loon, it’s seems fine. The thing is for how much longer?

The problem of course is that now I’ve noticed the fact that the tubes are letting the bottom bracket wander and the whole thing seems to go a bit rubbery under load I notice it even more. When I decide to get something else it’s going to need to be solid and comfy and after reading about Tom Boonen’s latest ride I can’t help thinking a Specialized might be a slightly cheaper alternative than another Indy Fab.

No Mayhem
June 19th, 2007

For the first time in a few years I won’t be at Mountain Mayhem this season. Unfortunately events have conspired against me and what would normally be a wonderful weekend with friends and probably a hideous hangover will instead be a chilled out ride on Sunday and unfortunately work on Saturday.

That said, given all the rain, it looks like it’s going to be a wet one so good luck to all the racers. Don’t forget to pack the bike cleaning gear and some mud tyres and spare pads. Oh and following on from the last post here’s the link to Dan Perjovschi’s website. I forgot it in a melee of typing and picture posting frenzy.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides